Man gets prison time in $1.9 million Quincy real estate swindle
A former fugitive who was on the lam for more than 20 years was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay restitution in connection with a $1.9 million real estate swindle in Quincy, federal prosecutors said.
Scott J. Wolas, 69, was sentenced in federal court in Boston to 81 months in prison and three years of supervised release, according to the US Attorney’s Office. Wolas was also ordered to pay more than $1.9 million in restitution to the victims of his fraud scheme, more than $69,000 to Social Security and Medicare, and more than $318,000 to the Internal Revenue Service, authorities said.
For at least eight years ending in 2016, Wolas ran a real estate business known as Increasing Fortune Inc., and worked as a licensed real estate agent for Century 21 in Quincy, authorities said.
During those years, he used the name Eugene Grathwohl and solicited investments for the development of the Beachcomber Bar property on Quincy Shore Drive and the construction of a home on a property next door, prosecutors said.
He collected more than $1.9 million from at least two dozen investors, promising each a significant return, authorities said. He also said he would pay out at least 125 percent of the profits from the construction of the home next to the bar.
However, prosecutors said he took the investors’ money and used it mostly for personal expenses that were unrelated to the development projects.
He was slated to close the Beachcomber property in September 2016, but left Quincy and stopped contact with his then-girlfriend, his co-workers, and his investors a week earlier.
Authorities eventually found out that Grathwohl was actually Wolas, a former lawyer who had been a fugitive since 1997 after he was charged with fraud and grand larceny in New York, prosecutors said. Grathwohl was the name of a Florida resident Wolas knew, prosecutors said.
Wolas has a long history of using aliases to steal money and evade capture, prosecutors said.
Wolas was arrested six months after he disappeared in Delray Beach, Fla. Last year, he pleaded guilty to seven counts of wire fraud, one count each of aggravated identity theft, misuse of a Social Security number, and tax evasion, according to prosecutors.